Bullying still a serious issue in schools — NPTA head
By CAROL MATROO Sunday, January 27 2013
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President of the National Parent/Teachers Association Zena Ramatali, centre, enjoys a laugh with president of Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers' As...
The Education Ministry must ensure schools have all the resources they need, and that teachers can work in an environment where they can produce quality students, according to president of the National Parent/Teacher Association, Zena Ramatali.
Ramatali, speaking to the Sunday Newsday during the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association’s (TTUTA) appreciation evening at Cascadia Hotel, St Ann’s, on Friday night, said the NPTA was not satisfied with the way school repairs and infrastructure were being handled.
“That is something that we hope would be improved over time. We have been calling for this hoping we could avoid having parents protest about school conditions. That is something that we are going to seriously discuss with our minister (Dr Tim Gopeesingh) as soon as he finds the time to meet with the NPTA,” Ramatali said.
The NPTA president added there was much to be done in schools concerning bullying, which she said was a serious issue the Education Ministry must work together with stakeholders to address.
“This is a serious situation where children are being bullied every day. It is time to stop sweeping things under the carpet. Children are coming from homes where they are being interfered with or homes that are prone to violence. There are so many issues...children are angry and they are crying out and we have to reach out.
“We have been asking for a long time for a national parenting programme. I must say thanks to the ministry for giving us that extra $100,000 so that we can conduct our parenting programmes in our regions.
“We recognise that parents are failing. They have serious issues especially in the area of single parent families, and these parents must realise that they brought these children into the world and they have a role and responsibility to train and nurture these children. This is something that the NPTA has been working on, but we need that extra support from the Principal’s Association, TTUTA and the ministry, and for parents to take up their true role, join the PTA, befriend the teachers,” Ramatali said.
The president said parents must play a more active role in their children’s lives, be more involved, and make more of an effort to meet with teachers to be more informed about their children’s education.
“A lot of times the teachers do not see the parents they would like to see. Some teachers go through a trying day sometimes with our students.
“Teachers play the role of mothers, fathers, nurses, counsellors....so we have to give praise where praise is due and we have to encourage our parents to take up their roles.
“Find the time to say I love you to your children and to take one day a month to visit the school. Open your children’s school bags, read a story, get them to join the library, do stuff with your children because at the end of the day, crime in the country starts in the home. If we do not address the issues from our homes, obviously we would continue to see crime escalating the way it has been for the last few years in our country,” Ramatali warned.